Mumm, Hodge in for Wallabies

Michael Cheika has once again turned to Dean Mumm to solve the Wallabies’ lineout woes, recalling the veteran at Scott Fardy’s expense for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against South Africa.

Mumm will start at No.6 with Fardy dropping out of the squad entirely in a massive selection call by Cheika for the Suncorp Stadium clash.

The 32-year-old stole more lineouts than any other player, save for New Zealand’s Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick, at last year’s World Cup.

Mumm also won seven lineouts coming off the bench in last month’s two Bledisloe Cup defeats – twice as many as the next best Australian, with the team’s success rate at just 69 per cent so far in the Rugby Championship.

His inclusion is one of just two changes to the team that lost 29-9 to the All Blacks in Wellington, with Reece Hodge also coming in for Adam Ashley-Cooper, who has returned to his club in France.

Hodge – who made his Test debut off the bench in that match – will play on the left wing with Dane Haylett-Petty switching over to the right.

The rest of the side remains untouched, with Cheika continuing to resist calls to move Israel Folau to the centres or to dump the hotly-debated Michael Hooper-David Pocock combination.

But there is further intrigue on a nine-man bench, which will be trimmed back by one after Friday’s captain’s run.

Both Lopeti Timani and Sean McMahon have been named, along with veteran winger Drew Mitchell, who is in line to play his first match in several months.

However, Mitchell could be the more likely to be culled after the Springboks went for a 6-2 split of forwards and backs when they unveiled their team on Thursday morning.

The uncapped Timani, who can also play in the second row, is widely seen as Australia’s best option for a traditional, ball-running No.8.

McMahon, meanwhile, hasn’t played for the Wallabies since June’s three-Test series against England, when he replaced the injured Pocock at the back of the scrum.

Wallabies: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Samu Kerevi, Bernard Foley, Reece Hodge, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Dean Mumm, Adam Coleman, Kane Douglas, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore (capt), Scott Sio. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Lopeti Timani, Sean McMahon, Nick Phipps, Tevita Kuridrani, Drew Mitchell (one to be omitted).

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